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Faro

A popular destination for sun-seekers from northern Europe and the UK, Faro has a reputation as being an overrun party beach town for much of the year. Visitors who use it as a base to explore the more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season will experience much more of what southern Portugal has to offer; but those looking for no more than a tan and cocktails won't be disappointed. In winter, it is a beautiful, peaceful corner of Southern Europe with plenty of sun bleaching the white-washed town with colonial and Moorish-influenced architecture. The people are more friendly than other parts of Europe. Many speak a bit of English, but are very appreciative of any attempts at Portuguese.

Faro Paço Episcopal

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When visiting Faro don't forget to see and experience the museums, galleries, Bars, Lounges, Restaurant and vibrant cafe society of this area!

What to see

Fans of automotive engineering will be intrugued by some of the weird and wonderful vehicles on Faro's streets. These include pick-up trucks with motorcycle front-ends, and various mopeds and micro-cars that never made it across the Channel. Renault 4s, now almost extinct in their native France, are still a common site in Faro.

If you're in a macabre mood then check out the Capela dos Ossos in the Igreja do Carmo church. This is a chapel decorated with the skeletal remains of over 1,200 former monks. There is a small admission charge.

Top Places to Visit

Since the 13th century, when the Moors were driven out, the city of Faro has been a part of Portugal. Through the centuries, Faro's local charm and beauty has seen devastation at the hands of the Earl of Essex in the 1500s and by earthquakes in the 1700s. Faro, however, has survived and offers many points of interest for travelers. What are some of the top destinations that a person should see when visiting Faro?

Capela d'Ossos and the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Monte do Carmo do Faro. Built in 1713, the Igreja de Nossa Senhora is one of the oldest churches in Faro. Visitors from all over the world stop at the church to see its gilded baroque altar, bell tower and belfries. Of particular interest is the Capela d'Ossos or, as it is also known, the Chapel of Bones. This unique chapel was constructed in the 1800s and for a mere seventy-five cents; a visitor can tour the facility. The chapel is unlike any other in the fact that its walls are lined with over 1,200 human skulls and bones.

Se. At one time Se Cathedral was the site of a mosque. Today, the cathedral is decorated in a Gothic and Renaissance style with many beautiful and old tiles. Most of the tiles in the Se cathedral were made in the 1600s and 1700s. The oldest, and some believe the most beautiful, of these tiles are found in Se's chapel, Capela do Rosario.

Igreja de Sao Franciso. Another favorite travel stop in Faro is the Igreja de Sao Franciso. This church is known for its baroque style of architecture. However, it is the church's tiles that intrigue visitors. The tiles are decorated and arranged to depict the life of the patron Saint Francis.

Museu Municipal. Faro is also home to many noteworthy museums. The Museu Municipal is no exception. The museum's home is a converted convent that was originally constructed in the 1500s. Visitors can view a number of displays including an impressive collection of Roman artifacts, sculptures and statues.

Museu Maritimo. This is Faro's maritime museum. Travelers who stop by the Museum Maritimo are treated to a number of models and boats that are infamous in Faro's history. Of particular interest are replicas of boats used in Vasco da Gama's trek to India as well as crafts used in an expedition along the Congo River in the 15th century.

Museu Ethografico Regional. Visitors to Faro who want to know more about the region's culture should make plans to stop at the Museu Ethografico Regional. The museum gives historical information and displays on various aspects of folklore, culture and industry found throughout Faro and other local areas.

Loule. The little town of Loule sits just north of Faro. Loule is infamous for its unique landscape of plaster chimneys found on many buildings in the area. Travelers to Loule can also tour the Igreja Matriz and Moorish Castelo. The Igreja Matriz was constructed in the 1200s. The church is renowned for its Gothic style of architecture. The Moorish Castelo is now an historical museum that sits atop the ruins of the former Moorish castle.

Sao Bras de Alportal. For the nature enthusiast, a day trip to Sao Bras de Alportal is a must. This region, just outside of Faro, is known for its beautiful landscape and tranquility. Visitors can walk through open fields or groves that are filled with native vegetation such as figs and almonds.

Arco da Vila. For a taste of architecture, a person should visit the Arco da Vila. The gate was originally constructed in the 1700s and has withstood several destructive earthquakes. Today the Arco da Vila signifies the entrance to Faro's Old Town.

Old Town. To experience some of Faro's "old world" atmosphere, a visitor should make plans to explore Cidade Vella, or Old Town. The markets are filled with handcrafts and other items that are unique to the area.

Entertainment

The hotspot for finding lively nightlife in Faro Portugal is the area around St. Peter cathedral (Sao Pedro Igreja).

In particular streets such as Rua Conselheiro Bivar, Rua Do Sao Pedro, Rua Do Compromiso and Rua Do Prior are excellent places for finding many bars, discos and restaurants offering live entertainment like karaoke nights. 

For instance, on Rua Conselheiro Bivar the popular Upa Upa Bar, and Bar CheSsenta located on Rua Do Prior.

If you’d like to try your gambling luck, Quinta do Golden Casino is located within the town area, near Varandas Bar.

Eating Out

With over 200km of coastline, it’s not surprising that the fish and seafood are a staple part of the diet for people in the Algarve and Faro is no exception. With daily fishing trips bringing in huge amounts of fresh sardines, tuna, bream, cod, monkfish and many other types of fish; plentiful supplies of clams, oysters, prawns, not to mention octopus and squid, it’s easy to understand why.

The traditional Portuguese restaurants normally offer a large selection of fish dishes, one of which is almost certain to be grilled sardines, served with boiled potatoes and vegetables or salad. Also commonly on the menu are a range of omelettes, salads and some meat dishes, like thin pork slices (febras) served with a creamy mushroom sauce or chicken piri-piri.The prices are very reasonable, the food is good and the portions are generous. House wine, which is normally a local Portuguese wine, is also very good value and very drinkable! On average a 2-course meal for 2, including house wine, should cost less than €30. (Soup of the day €2.00, main course €7.50 and a bottle of house wine €8). Obviously prices can vary enormously depending on location.

As well as traditional Portuguese food you will find Chinese, Indian, Italian, International and even a couple of vegetarian restaurants in Faro. Having a large student population also means plenty of fast food and snack bar style places to grab a bite!

Facts

Faro is the southernmost city in Continental Portugal. It is located in the Faro Municipality in southern Portugal. The city proper has 50.000 inhabitants,[1] and the entire municipality has 64.560 (2011). It is the seat of the Faro District and capital of the Algarve region. The Algarve and Faro district cover the same territory.

Faro has a moderate Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: Csa). Summers are warm to hot and sunny with average daytime temperatures of 27–35 °C (81–95 °F). The weather in the autumn and winter months is generally mild with temperatures around 8–17 °C (46–63 °F). Faro receives most of its rainfall over the winter months; rain is very rare between June and September. The annual average temperature is around 17 °C (63 °F) - 18 °C (64 °F) and the annual rainfall is around 500 mm (19.69 in). The average sea surface temperature is 15–16 °C (59–61 °F) in January rising to 22–25 °C (72–77 °F) in August.

Useful Links

Faro Airport (FAO)
Algarve Tourism Board

Video Intro


ALGARVE | a summer adventure (ncvisuals) / CC BY 3.0

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